Preserving the Words

Fixing up Crunchable’s old stories, one post at a time.

Don’t mind me if I seem a little out of it — I’ve spent a good part of the weekend in 2002. has published more than 670 stories in its eight years on the Internet; by my count, 89 of those articles were in 2002, the site’s first full year online. Over the years, we’ve changed our Web hosting company, our software, and even our editors; along the way, our massive database of stories (it’s up to 31MB or so) has gone through various hiccups, which have done strange things like turning every occurrence of the word “café” into “café.”

I recently found a way to fix those weird characters in a bunch of stories at once, but there’s plenty of other HTML gibberish that needs straightening out, story-by-story. So far, I’ve slogged through all of 2001 and 2002, and I’m about halfway through 2003.

I wonder sometimes if all this work is worthwhile, if anybody ever reads those old stories. Periodically someone will stumble across one of them in a Google search and leave a comment; more often, the articles just sit there silently. I wonder if anybody else is like me — if anybody else remembers reading some of those first Crunchable stories in the site’s early years and laughing and feeling and marveling at what these young writers — My peers! My friends! — could do.

Then again, there were other early Crunchable stories that were crap. But purging them from the site would only make our history incomplete, not to mention dishonest.

So I’ll keep on plugging away with my archival duties — and as I do, I’ll continue to post highlights each week in the Crunchable sidebar, as I’ve been doing since 2006. (The article I highlighted two weeks ago — “Chris, Joel, and Dennis Reunite” — was an old favorite that was nearly lost forever; it was rescued by the invaluable Wayback Machine at the Internet Archives.)

And if you have some old favorites, dear reader, please leave a comment on this post and let us know what they are. We plan to create a “Featurable” page soon to spotlight some of our best work from over the years, and we’d love to hear what you think should be on it.

UPDATE (March 22): A reader has helpfully informed us that the comment forms here on Crunchable weren’t working. I believe they’re functioning again now — but if you give it a try and it won’t let you post anything, please send us an e-mail at to let us know. Thanks!

Article © 2010 by Michael Duck